Countries Behaving Badly

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This column was written by CBS News Early Show co-anchor Harry Smith.
The Iranians want to enrich uranium. The North Koreans want to fire a giant rocket over the Pacific — maybe toward the United States.

Some, including Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice, have called these actions provocative — as in "you are provoking me and there will be an appropriate response."

Listen to the expert analysts who watch these countries and a common theme develops: North Korea and Iran are behaving badly. In fact, it's probably not too much a stretch to say they're acting like self-absorbed teenagers.

As one analyst told me, this bad behavior by these countries is really sort of a cry for attention — which creates a very difficult foreign policy problem. What is the geo-political equivalent of taking away a kid's driving privileges, or flat-out grounding them? And is corporal punishment the way to go?

Sometimes when my teenager acts up, the quieter I get, the better he behaves. But that's sometimes.

Harry's daily commentary can be heard on manyCBS Radio News affiliates across the country.
By Harry Smith